I love holidays--cooking, decorating, celebrating, and I love traditions. We moved frequently while I was growing up, so seasonal celebrations changed almost yearly; however, we had a half-joke that went like this: if we do it two years in a row, it's a tradition. I treasured those traditions and enthusiastically helped my parents stick to them.
Then I got married, and my husband and I began forming our own traditions. This year I have had to realize that while traditions are fun and good as "servants," I can't let them take over my life as "masters." When I do, it makes for needlessly guilty moments and a lot more stress than I need. I'm thankful to be beginig to get it figured out this year.
For example, I'm not decorating my house for Christmas this year. I'm sad to be temporarily letting go of this treasured tradition, but at the same time, I am very relieved. We went to visit my husband's family the weekend after Thanksgiving, so the time that I would normally have spent decorating was spent in a flurry of getting ready to travel. By the time we were recovered, I would have only had the decorations up to enjoy for 2-3 weeks. And honestly, thinking about keeping a busy toddler out of them and then having to take them all down and pack them up again in January was discouraging and daunting. Plus there are some other things that I feel are very important to do this year, and I don't want to take the time away from them.
I think that one of the big things I have learned is that the outer trappings are not what make Christmas what it is. What makes Christmas "Christmas" is what we make of it. I want Little Man to grow up remembering this as a time of joy and peace, of giving and love for others, without the stress that seems rampant around holidays. And if I have to cut a few things out each year to achieve that, I am willing to.
Now, back to all those important things...